American Writers Museum Launches New ‘American Voices’ Exhibit Tracing the Literary History of the United States

December 7, 2020 (CHICAGO) – The American Writers Museum (AWM) today announced the launch of a new website, an online resource featuring a virtual American Voices exhibit, educational materials and digital media for teaching and learning about American writing. The online exhibit, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) CARES grant program, is only a sampling of the expansive American Voices exhibit in the Nation of Writers gallery at the museum. 

“AWM’s physical space is closed to visitors due to COVID-19, and we plan to reopen the space in Spring 2021, but the museum’s virtual presence, educational engagement with classrooms and online programming continue to grow and expand,” said AWM President Carey Cranston.

American Voices is a richly layered chronology of American literature, tracing it from Native American oral traditions through the explosion of voices in the 20th Century. Organized by chronological eras of literary innovation spanning more than 400 years, the exhibit highlights select authors who each played a role in creating the unique character of American writing.  

Visitors to the website homepage and the gallery in the museum will first encounter the Nation of Writers orientation film, which establishes that American writing and storytelling encompass many voices, many regions, and many ideas.

American Voices allows visitors to travel through the literary history of the United States by exploring the timeline and navigating through three uniquely American themes across time; Identity, Promise, and Edge. The Identity theme video explores how writers have addressed the fluidity of self-definition, a fluidity that is uniquely American. The Promise theme video offers perspectives on how writers have defined, examined, and critiqued the quest for “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” The Edge theme video is a meditation on writers, works, and even entire genres that challenged mainstream literature.

To explore AWM online offerings including virtual exhibits, programs, podcasts and more, click here.

About American Writers Museum

The American Writers Museum is the first museum of its kind in the United States. The mission of the American Writers Museum is to engage the public in celebrating American writers and exploring their influence on our history, our identity, and our daily lives. The museum is located at 180 N. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60601, and offers something for every age group including permanent exhibits and special galleries highlighting America’s favorite works and the authors behind them. Tickets to the museum are $14 for adults, $9 for seniors, students, and teachers. Free for members and children ages 12 and under. To inquire about discounted rates for groups of 10 or more, including adults, student travel groups, and University students, visit or call 312-374-8770. The Museum is temporarily closed to general visitors. For more information visit or call 312-374-8790.

Sponsored by National Endowment for the Humanities

The National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Writers Museum together: Exploring the human endeavor.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this virtual exhibit do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at

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